I seem to have back to school on my mind. Summer vacation here literally just started! No, really, summer holiday in the Netherlands begins in middle to late July! The kids here get six weeks off. Once school picks back up in September, I will be teaching English at our village school a few hours a week. I’m super excited to be working with so many amazing little ones! One of the themes, I think is fun to start off with is: seashell seashell activities! It’s perfect for winding down summer, talking about the beach, and enjoying sand a little bit more.
For now, at home though, we are taking it slow and enjoying shelf activities, lots of time outdoors, and playing with friends. And of course, I couldn’t resist testing out some fun seashell activities on my son!
Seashell Activities for Preschoolers
Age – many activities here can be done by toddlers. Some are for more advanced children. Use your own discretion when presenting small pieces to young children.
Seashell Activities: Tray Exploration
Of course, the start of any seashell activities must include exploring the seashells themselves. For this, I like to provide a simple tray for studying the objects.
Practical life activities are always a great addition to any set of activities. Spooning small seashells is a simple and important work to practice hand eye coordination, strengthen hand muscles, and develop concentration.
Pouring seashells is another take on a classic work.
For Y at 4 years old, we worked on controlled pouring with a funnel. Really, for fun rather than for practice at this point. He did enjoy the work quite a bit. I do recommend going outside for such works in case there is spillage. Although, using a dustpan and hand brush to clean up spilled sand is another fantastic practical life work, right?
Matching is a wonderful prereading work. For this activity, I taped different sequins to the inside of the shells. You could draw something instead (such as different shapes). Children must match the seashells to each other.
Presentation is simple. I prefer to keep to different bowls for containing each set. The child must first take the bowl on the left. Then, have him or her lay out all of the seashells from that bowl onto the mat neatly. Afterward, they must find the matching shells from the bowl on the right.
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Seashells are also a fantastic manipulative for counting and practicing number quantity and number order. Do note that when introducing math concepts for the first time, it is best to use traditional Montessori materials if you want an authentic Montessori work. These are fun extensions.
You can use seashells as “number cards”. Use a marker to write numbers on the shells. Then, ask the child to lay out the seashells in order 0-5 or 0-9. Next, ask the child to place the corresponding quantity of shells underneath each numbered one.
Here is an alternative you can do with Montessori wooden numbers.
We have also added Montessori beads to another extension.
Taking it a step further, we used this idea with the Montessori tens board. Y is interested in counting to large numbers and has already mastered the teens board now that he is almost 5 years old. Again, this is a fun extension to practice and add a fun element to a traditional work!
Y was very interested in the seashells and found it a bit distracting. This would not be the ideal work for the first time you use a teens board, but it was a great way to mix things up! I keep these extensions or alternatives up for only a few days before we return back to the traditional material. This time, I saw that Y worked through the numbers quickly and easily so we will move on to checking his knowledge of larger numbers.
Counting out the seashells!
We also used a writing tray to practice writing number symbols. Y found it fun to use the seashells to write with!
- You could also use such a tray (seashells and sand) for a calming tinker tray activity.
- This type of work is a fun way to practice counting, as well!
Of course, a fun art exploration work was necessary! Y simply painted with seashells. I recommend taking the seashells used to paint, and creating a practical life work by washing the seashells together!
Lastly, I want to share an older photo I found of Y as a toddler! We have studied seashells many times before. I took this photo of Y after our first set of seashell activities. He grabbed a pillow to have a rest after we finished, next to some works on the floor.
More Seashell Resources